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FoodHACCP Newsletter
01/21,2013 ISSUE:531

Got Pepper? You May Have Salmonella Too
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Jan 21, 2013)
Many foods we don’t think about when considering food poisoning can, in fact, be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. For instance, not many people know that all foods containing raw flour should be baked, since that product can be contaminated with bacteria. And a study published in Food Microbiology ahead of print for May 2013 looked at the growth and survival of Salmonella in ground black pepper.
In the past, spices have been recalled for bacterial contamination. In December 2011, there was several recalls of organic celery seeds for possible Salmonella contamination, and in January 2012, Jones’ Seasoning recalled their Mock Salt for possible Salmonella.
In the study, scientists inoculated ground black pepper with a cocktail of Salmonella, then monitored the bacterial growth at different temperatures and humidity levels. They found that at high humidity and temperature levels, Salmonella grew easily in ground black pepper. Under “ambient” humidity, they found that the bacteria survived in the black pepper for more than one year.
So what’s the consumer to do? Treat spices and other baking ingredients the same as you would other raw foods. Cross-contamination is probably the most likely source of bacterial introduction. On many food television shows, I see hosts handling raw meats, then reaching into salt and pepper containers to season the food without washing their hands, which is a guaranteed recipe for contamination. Always wash your hands after touching raw meats and raw eggs and before touching other ingredients. Avoid cross-contamination and store all foods in sealed, individual containers. And store spices tightly closed so water available to aid in bacterial growth is reduced.

Let's talk horse sense about food
Source :
By Jay Rayner (Jan 20, 2013)
How you respond to the horsemeat burger story will depend upon who you are. If you're wealthy enough not to have to buy the stuff, it will be with a sigh of contempt and an exasperated roll of the eyes. If you're an executive from one of the implicated supermarkets, it will be with sweaty panic. And if you're one of those forced, through economic circumstance, to shop in the value ranges, it will probably be with a deadened sense of despair. Food is emotional and stories about it make people react emotionally. But emotion does not help explain why something like this could happen.
For that, you have to look to the hard, unemotional logic of economics. It is about the global commodity that food has become and it is about the way the British supermarkets have consolidated power in the market place to deal with that commoditisation. None of these things made last week's headline-grabber inevitable. But they did make it seriously likely and there will be other scandals like it in years to come unless the major retailers change their ways.
This tale falls into two distinct parts: the presence of pork and/or horse DNA in trace amounts, found in 23 of the 27 Irish and British manufactured beefburger products that were tested, and the one Tesco product found to contain a significant amount – 29% – of horse meat. Both have the same underlying cause. While supermarket bosses insist they have stringent systems in place to guarantee product quality, what they will not discuss is the impact of the brutal deals they enforce upon the companies that manufacture those products for them.
The manufacturers do not want to talk publicly about it either, for fear of enraging their key customers. Privately, however, they regularly report being forced to sell to the supermarkets at break-even or below the cost of production or risk being de-listed. They'll do anything to avoid being de-listed because once off the shelves it's a massive struggle to get back on. As a result, they'll take the deals, and the financial hit, in the hope that the price will pick up in the future. And it's when money gets tight that corners are cut.
Investigations are continuing, but many sources in the industry now believe the trace DNA elements entered the products through the use of protein powders, employed both to bulk up the protein content and to help burgers retain moisture (which means you can sell water). The idea of protein powders is not intrinsically bad: if we are going to bang animals on the head, we have a moral responsibility to use every last scrap, however distasteful the more gastronomically minded may find it. The problem is that their production requires the denaturing of animal products to such a degree that only chemical analysis can detect where they originated. And as the same plants grind myriad different animals, cross-contamination is always possible, especially when profit margins have been cut to the metaphorical bone.
Certainly the refusal by Dr Duncan Campbell, head of the UK's leading food control laboratory, to accept the Food Standards Agency's reassurances that there is no threat to human health, makes sense. 'Until we know what the source is of the 'horse' or 'something derived from horse' that has been found in the beef products,' he said, 'we cannot be sure there is no food safety risk.'
The potential appearance of actual horse meat in burgers is a separate issue and that's down to the cost of beef, which has reached historic highs. According to Index Mundi, which tracks commodity prices into the US, the current deadweight price for beef – the whole carcass – has just hit the equivalent of £2.75 a kilo, close to a price doubling in just four years.
It's a similar story in this country. According to Eblex, the trade organisation for the beef industry, the key measure for top quality beef prices has gone from just over £2 a kilo in 2006 to £3.77 a kilo last week. As ever, that's a function of supply and demand. Most beef animals are fed on grain. In 2008, massive price spikes in the cost of corn and soya presented beef farmers with major cash flow problems. Feeding their animals had just become too expensive. As a result, vast numbers sent not only their prime beef animals, but also their breeding herds, to slaughter.
Five years on and there is a shortage of new beef animals, combined with an uplift in demand for meat from emerging economies. Compared with beef, horse meat, the majority of which comes from South America and the near continent, is a bargain. According to a report last year by FranceAgriMer, the French state agriculture body, it trades globally at about £1.85 a kilo. Many in the meat processing industry believe non-domestic suppliers may have been sending over batches of horse meat marked as beef. On Friday, the ABP Food Group, one of the companies armpit deep in the scandal, confirmed that its investigations are "centred around two third-party continental suppliers". The price difference in a tight market would have made such a switch irresistible.
At which point, the foodie middle classes bellow that this simply emphasises the importance of provenance; of knowing where your food has come from. It was part of an unpleasant discourse, played out across social media and radio chat shows last week, which insisted that anybody who bought these adulterated burger products got all they deserved. It's distasteful in so many ways. An interest in provenance is a luxury that not everyone can afford. Nobody shops in the supermarket value ranges out of choice, and to suggest otherwise is to misunderstand the dynamic of poverty. Likewise, criticising people for not making the effort to craft all their food from scratch is to fail to recognise that some people aren't just cash poor. They are time poor, too.
Yes, there is an ideal food model, one that does indeed involve knowing where all your ingredients come from, and making all your food yourself, but some people simple can't afford that ideal. They are left at the mercies of a supermarket business that pursues the bottom line with such violence, and such terrible carelessness, that the wrong animals end up in the wrong cheap burgers.
This article will be opened for comments on Sunday morning

Food poisoning: restaurant shut
Source :
By (Jan 19, 2013)
Food safety officials on Friday ordered to close down Hotel Sindhoor Palace at Kowdiar after two persons, who had shawarma from there on Thursday evening, were hospitalised.
Vishal, 10, was admitted to the Government Hospital, Peroorkada, on Thursday night after he started vomiting “an hour or so after consuming shawarma from the hotel.”
The boy’s mother, Asha, filed a complaint with the Food Safety Department at 11 p.m. on Thursday. Ms. Asha said that a group of three—the boy, a family friend and herself—had visited the restaurant on Thursday evening.
“He found a bug in the meal and at first I thought he threw up on the sight of that. But his condition worsened and the doctor said it was a case of food poisoning,” she said, adding that they had brought the incident of sighting the bug to the notice of the waiters and had received a cash refund.
Sreejith S., 27, their family friend, who also had shawarma with them, was admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) here on Friday evening.
A relative, who was at the hospital with Sreejith, said though he was unwell from Thursday itself, he did not seek medical aid. “But as he started feeling weaker, he agreed to be taken to the medical college on Friday,” said the relative.
Sources at the MCH said that Sreejith was recovering but needed to take rest to regain strength.
Vishal was discharged on Friday night. “The doctor suggested that we keep him longer, but because of the overwhelming presence of cameras and media persons I thought I would take him home. I may have to take him to the hospital again as he is still unwell and vomiting,” she told The Hindu over phone.
Ms. Asha said she had also eaten shawarma and felt a slight discomfort afterwards.
The hotel would remain shut, until the necessary changes were brought about, food safety officials said.

When Cheese Kills – Listeria Jindi Camembert and Frescolina Marte Ricotta Salata
Source :
By Bill Marler (Jan 19, 2013)
In Australia a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to soft cheeses has sickened 18 people; two victims have died and one woman miscarried as a result of infection with the bacteria.  The outbreak began in November of 2012, at which time an 84-year-old man from Victoria and a 44-year-old Tasmanian man died as a result of their illnesses, and a New South Wales woman suffered a miscarriage.  By mid-December, 11 cases of listeriosis (Listeria infection) had been identified as part of the outbreak, and Brie and Camembert cheese sold under the brand names of Jindi and Wattle Valley were implicated as the source of the bacteria.  Now a further seven cases have been connected to the outbreak, health authorities announced Friday. Officials also expanded the recall to include all cheeses manufactured by the Jindi Company up to and including January 6.
As a result, health authorities announced a recall of four types of cheeses - 1kg packages of Jindi Brie, 1kg packages of Jindi Camembert, 1kg packages of Wattle Valley double Brie and 1kg packages of Wattle Valley Camembert – all with a best before date of December 21.
In the United Sates a total of 22 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from 13 states and the District of Columbia. 20 ill persons were hospitalized. Four deaths were reported. Public health officials determined that two of these deaths were related to listeriosis. One fetal loss was reported.
Collaborative investigation efforts of local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese imported from Italy and distributed by Forever Cheese, Inc. was the likely source of this outbreak.  On September 10, 2012, Forever Cheese, Inc. initiated a voluntary recall of this cheese with a single lot number and/or production code.

Wisconsin and E. coli, a recent history (and a warning)
Source :
By Drew Falkenstein (Jan 16, 2013)
Glenn’s Market, in Watertown, Wisconsin, recently recalled over a ton of ground beef sold between December 22, 2012 and January 4, 2013 because the beef was implicated in an E. coli outbreak that has, to date, sickened at least 3 Wisconsin residents.  Investigating health officials are concerned that the contaminated ground beef may still be in consumers’ freezers, and are warning the public not to consume any ground beef purchased from Glenn’s during that time frame.  Better yet, if you’ve got any ground beef at all from Glenn’s, regardless of when you bought it or think you bought it, do not eat it.
Wisconsin has a bit of a checkered past with E. coli.  That may be due, in part, to the quality of its public health officials in detecting and stopping outbreaks, but whatever the case the two (Wisconsin and E. coli) have tangoed before.
Using the outbreak database sponsored by Marler Clark, one can view a history of E. coli outbreaks in Wisconsin:
• In early 2012, Jimmy Johns sandwiches (actually, sprouts on Jimmy Johns sandwiches) caused at least 25 E. coli O26 illnesses in multiple states, including 1 in Wisconsin.
•2010: E. coli O157:H7, Hazelnuts: 8 people were sickened in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
•2009: E. coli O157:H7, Romaine Lettuce: 19 people were sickened in multiple states, including Wisconsin, in a cluster of illnesses likely linked to lettuce. Marler Clark represented a victim in Utah.
•2009: E. coli O157:H7, cookie dough: Nestle’s cookie was linked to 80 illnesses across the country, including in Wisconsin. Marler Clark represented multiple victims of the outbreak.
•2007: E. coli O157:H7, ground beef: Wisconsin residents were among 47 ill in an outbreak also involving people in Minnesota, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Marler Clark represented victims from Minnesota and Tennesee.
•2006: E. coli O157:H7, other STECs, bagged spinach. Over 200 people were sickened and 5 died in a nationwide outbreak linked to Dole brand bagged spinach. Marler Clark represented dozens of the victims.
•2005: E. coli O157:H7, lettuce. Another Dole outbreak, this one sickened 32 people in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oregon. Marler Clark represented victims in Wisconsin.

Beware: Hand Sanitizers Do Not Destroy Norovirus   
Source :
By  Linda Larsen (Jan 16, 2013)
At the pharmacy yesterday, I was interested to see that the staff keeps a bottle of hand sanitizer at the counter. The woman in line in front of me used the sanitizer after touching the credit card machine and signing the consent statement. So a story in the New York Times about studies that showed hand sanitizers are useless against norovirus caught my eye.
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that looked at a substantial increase in novovirus illnesses in northern New England. Researchers looked at long-term care facilities in that area, trying to identify institutional risk factors for norovirus outbreaks. State health departments in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont used surveys, collecting information about facility attribvutes, routine staff use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer versus soap and water, facility cleaning practices, and occurrence of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks from December 2006 to Amarcy 2007.
Norovirus outbreaks peak in the winter months, when people are forced to spend more time together. Cruise ships, hospitals, and nursing homes usually suffer outbreaks because of the proximity of patients. The virus is extremely contagious and people can become infected through food and drink, person-to-person, and by touching contaminated surfaces.
The surveys found that of the 91 facilities that responded, 61 reported 73 outbreaks in that time frame. Of those outbreaks, 29 were confirmed norovirus. And facilities where staff were “equally or more likely to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS) than soap and water for routine hand hygiene had higher odds of an outbreak than facilities with staff less like to use ABHS.”
The moral of the story is to not become complacent when using hand sanitizer. That product is effective against some strains of the flu and many types of bacteria. But it’s important to throughly wash your hands with warm water and soap in addition to using ABHS to help prevent illness outbreaks.

Dole Fresh Vegetables adopts food safety technology
Source :
By Mike Hornick (Jan 16, 2013)
Dole Fresh Vegetables has implemented SafetyChain for Food, a set of safety and quality compliance technologies from San Rafael, Calif.-based SafetyChain Software.
The company adopted it in preparation for compliance with Food Safety Modernization Act rules, according to Nye Hardy, food safety manager for Monterey, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Vegetables.
“We cannot wait for suppliers’ safety assessments,” she said in a news release. “We ensure all food safety programs are followed at the start of every point of production, from planting to harvest to post-harvest.”
Hardy Hardy is the scheduled guest speaker in a one-hour web seminar to be offered at 9 a.m. Pacific time Feb. 28 by SafetyChain Software. Registration for the free seminar, whose topics include the new FSMA rules, is online.
SafetyChain for Food links all members of a company’s supply chain. Among other features, it offers the ability to conduct food safety assessments from data sent via mobile devices, prompting alerts when action is needed. Traceability access supports mock or real recalls or market withdrawals, according to the company.
The product has modules for supplier compliance and management; safety and quality data reporting; and customer and finished product compliance, among others. It handles third-party and customer compliance requirements like HACCP and the Global Food Safety Initiative and FSMA.
It issues electronic certificates of analysis when tests are within specifications.
“Real-time safety information with traceable data is critical,” Barbara Levin, SafetyChain senior vice president and co-founder, said in the release. “We’re excited to work with … Dole Fresh Vegetables to help them realize their vision of proactive safety assessments and on-demand audit readiness.”

UK Kebab Shop Owner Jailed for Food Safety Violations
Source :
By Food Safety News Desk (Jan 16, 2013)
Wales Online is reporting that a kebab shop owner in Cardiff, Wales, has been sentenced to 8 months in jail after his “heinous” food safety violations led to an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in August 2011.
That outbreak sickened at least 9 customers, including a 12-year-old boy who suffered kidney failure and was hospitalized for two weeks.
The court found Adonis Kebab House owner Diar Wali Ali guilty of several food safety violations, including: storing raw meat next to ready-to-eat food; using a rusted dough mixer to defrost frozen meat; and using a dirty towel that touched raw meat to remove cooked meat from skewers.
Ali plead guilty to the offenses.
Ali was also censured for failing to remedy the conditions in the shop after repeated visits from environmental health. The shop is now operated under different ownership.

E. coli-Contaminated Lettuce Came from a California LGMA Grower
Source :
By (Jan 15, 2013)
Update: The lettuce recall described in this article was expanded to include product sold at Canadian Burger King and Pizza Hut locations.
First it was just plain old lettuce, then it was California-grown lettuce, and now the latest from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is that was lettuce from a grower who has signed onto the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement.
In explaining how that lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 came across the border from the U.S., CFIA now points to how involvement in the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (LGMA) is a quick ticket across the international border for California-grown lettuce.
The idea is simple. Since the 115 California leafy green producers submit to a mandatory food safety program, they can check “Box 22″ on their Confirmation of Sale’s (COS) document and enter Canada almost without slowing down.
And, the LGMA agreement may be the most stringent food safety program for leafy green producers on the planet. It includes mandatory government audits for lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens that follow a “best practices” model to reduce risk. It focuses on water, soil and other environmental conditions along with farm worker hygiene and harvest controls.
Still, the current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, with at least 26 illnesses in three provinces, marks the second time in two years that California-grown lettuce served in Canadian restaurants has been responsible for a foodborne illness outbreak.
Last year’s outbreak involved two restaurants in Canada’s New Brunswick and one in Orange County, California. Genetic fingerprinting connected Amazing Coachella Inc., a Coachella, CA-based producer, to the illnesses in both countries.
This year’s outbreak involves KFC and Taco Bell outlets, restaurants of the Yum! Brands chain that receive fresh lettuce in the middle of winter from FreshPoint, a distributor in Toronto. CFIA has yet to name the actual grower, a subject that is giving the tight leafy green community in California something talk about.
“We’ve been reaching out some,” says April Ward, LGMA’s communications director who is based in Sacramento. Her members are talking about it, but no one has coughed up the name of the responsible grower – yet.
LGMA, in a statement issued on Chairman Ryan Talley’s blog, promises to fully cooperate with all those investigating the latest incident.
“Consumers should know that if there is an outbreak determined to be associated with California leafy greens, the LGMA is committed to working with health officials to assist in determining the cause,” he said. “Traceback and recall capabilities that are a mandatory part of our program can be initiated and any product with the potential to be associated with the outbreak is removed from market channels to protect consumers.”
“Information about any implicated farms is made available to authorities, and re-inspections can be done,” he continued. “If it is determined that an outbreak is the result of any on-farm practice, the food safety measures included in the LGMA program will be examined and, if necessary, changed.”
Talley said when LGMA hears about an possible outbreak involving one of its members, “We jump in to learn more.”
While California lettuce growers are aware of the Canadian outbreak involving their product, they aren’t too into speculating about who is involved. Tom Lathos, chief operating officer at Sun Coast Farms, said he’d sooner end his day at the beach, doing some January surfing.
Letting a pathogen slip through does not mean a producer loses its LGMA status. Under the program, a producer can be decertified or ordered to take corrective action. But Amazing Coachella Inc. remains in good standing as an LGMA member.
The LGMA program includes roles for both private sector auditors and California Department of Food and Agriculture inspectors. It was created in response to the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with spinach grown in California’s Salinas Valley, often called the “America’s Salad Bowl.”  In that outbreak, 205 were sickened and 5 died.
Talley says the LGMA program meets and/or exceeds the requirements of the new Produce Safety Rule, recently published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the two-year-old Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
All LGMA members use the organization’s service mark on bills of lading to assure customers that its products were produced under the best food safety practices available today. Growers who today can use that service mark include:
Agro Jal Farms Inc, Santa Maria
Amazing Coachella Inc/DBA Peter Rabbit Farms, Coachella
Amigo Farms Inc, Yuma
Andrew Smith Co, Spreckels
Anthony Costa and Sons, Soledad
Apio Inc, Guadalupe
Babe Farms Inc, Santa Maria
Badlands / El Don, Brawley
Baloian Packing Co Inc, Fresno
Beachside Produce LLC, Guadalupe
Bengard Ranch Inc, Salinas
Big E Produce, Lompoc
Blanton Produce Co, Salinas
Boggiatto Produce Inc, Salinas
Bonipak Produce Co, Santa Maria
Boskovich Farms, Oxnard
C and E Farms Inc, Salinas
Cal Cel Marketing Inc, Oxnard
Channel Islands Farm, Inc, Oxnard
Church Bros LLC, Salinas
Classic Salads LLC, Salinas
Coastal Fresh Farms, Westlake Village
Coastline / Sunridge Farms Inc, Salinas
Country Sweet Produce Inc, Bakersfield
Creekside Organics Inc., Bakersfield
Crystal Organic/Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield
D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of CA, Salinas
Dan Andrews Farms, Bakersfield
Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard
Diamond Produce Co, Salinas
Dole Fresh Vegetables, Salinas
Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc-Cal, Salinas
Durant Distributing, Santa Maria
Dynasty Farms Inc, Salinas
Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista
EpicVeg, Lompoc
Ernie Strahm & Sons, Inc – Holtville
Faurot Ranch LLC, Watsonville
Field Fresh Farms, Watsonville
Fisher Ranch Corporation, Blythe
Fratelli Farms, Hollister
Fresh Choice Marketing Inc, Oxnard
Fresh Express Inc, Salinas
Fresh Kist, Nipomo
Fresh Origins LLC, San Marcos
Fresh Roots LLC, Salinas
George Amaral Ranches Inc, Gonzales
Gold Coast Packing Co, Santa Maria
Greengate Fresh LLLP, Salinas
Growers Express LLC, Salinas
Ippolito International, Salinas
Jayleaf LLC, Hollister
Joe Heger Farms LLC, El Centro
John S Tamagni and Sons, Inc, Spreckels
Kawaguchi Farms, Arroyo Grande
Keber Distributing, Thermal
Kenter Canyon Farms, Sun Valley
Lakeside Organic Gardens LLC, Watsonville
Mann Packing Co Inc, Salinas
Misionero Vegetables, Salinas
Muranaka Farms, Moorpark
Nava Enterprise Inc, Oxnard
New Star Fresh Foods LLC | organicgirl, Salinas
North Country Produce, Paso Robles
Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville
Pablo’s Produce, Oxnard
Pacific Coast Produce, Santa Maria
Pacific Fresh Produce Inc, Oxnard
Pacific International Marketing, Salinas
Pacific Marketing Co, Salinas
Pacific Pride Marketing LLC, Oxnard
Pajaro Valley Fresh Fruit And Veg Dist, Watsonville
Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exch, Oceano
Premium Valley Produce, Inc, Scottsdale
Pure Pacific Organics, Salinas
Purepak Inc / Pacific Ridge Farms LLC, Oxnard
Ratto Bros Inc, Modesto
Ready Pac Foods Inc, Duarte
Real Fresh Farms Inc., Santa Paula
River Ranch Fresh Food LLC, Salinas
Royal Rose LLC / European Vegetable Specialties, Salinas
Sabor Farms, Salinas
Salad Savoy Corp, Salinas
San Cristobal Distributing Inc, Oxnard
San Miguel Produce, Oxnard
Santa Barbara Farms Packing, Lompoc
Scarborough Farms Inc, Oxnard
Seaboard Produce/Variety Marketing, Oxnard
Silva Farms, Gonzales
Steinbeck Country Produce, Spreckels
Strahm Farms Inc, Holtville
Sun Coast Farms, Santa Maria
Sun Terra Produce Traders Inc, Newport Beach
Sunamerica Produce, Salinas
Sunfresh USA Inc, Santa Paula
Sunsation Farms Inc, Monterey
Talley Farms Inc, Arroyo Grande
Tanimura And Antle Fresh Foods, Inc, Salinas
Taylor Farms, Salinas
The Nunes Co Inc, Salinas
The Salad Farm LLC, Salinas
True Leaf Farms, Salinas
Vessey And Company Inc, Holtville
William Consalo and Sons, Bakersfield
One of them likely shipped lettuce to Freshpoint.

Horse meat found in ground beef
Source :
By (Jan 16, 2013)
LONDON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- British supermarket giant Tesco pulled ground beef from sale Tuesday after inspectors reported finding horse meat in burgers sold in Britain and Ireland.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland reported that 37 percent of the burgers it tested showed traces of horse DNA, The Daily Telegraph reported. Some Everyday Value Beef Burgers were as much as 29 percent horsemeat.
"The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious," said Tim Smith, a Tesco executive. "Our customers have the right to expect that food they buy is produced to the highest standards."
Investigators also found horse DNA in ground beef products sold by Iceland, ALDI, Lidl and Dunnes, officials said.
Pig DNA was reportedly discovered in a wide variety of beef products. This raises questions for Jews and Muslims whose dietary rules ban pork.
Beef containing horse DNA came from Liffey Meats and Silvercrest food processing plants in Ireland and Dalepak Hambleton in North Yorkshire.

Beef Products, Tyson Fresh Meats Face Lawsuit in E. coli Death
Source :
By FoodProductDesign (Jan 10, 2013)
STEARNS COUNTY, Minn. — Beef Products, Inc., JBS USA, LLC and Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. are among several defendants in a lawsuit filed by the brother of a Minnesota man with Down syndrome who died after he was infected with a strain of E. coli from contaminated ground beef. William Danell filed the complaint in a Minnesota state court on behalf of his late brother Robert, who was living in a group home prior to being hospitalized. 
The 62-year-old Robert Danell suffered gastrointestinal problems after eating contaminated ground beef, according to the complaint. He died on Jan. 19, 2010.
The lawsuit blames his death on an E. coli 0157: H7 infection that affected 25 people in 17 states.
The plaintiff's lawyers, Minnesota attorney Joseph Flynn and the Seattle-based firm Marler Clark, LLP, assert various causes of action against the defendants, including strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence and negligence per se.
BPI representatives told The New York Daily News that the complaint "lacks merit".
Other defendants named in the lawsuit include Upper Lakes Food, Inc., J&B Wholesale Distributing, Inc., Coborn's Inc. and John Doe Manufacturers and Distributors 1-10.

Where Did MO E. coli Victims Get The Raw Milk Products?
Source :
By  Carla Gillespie (Jan 15, 2013)
Raw milk products have been identified as a possible source of a Missouri E.coli outbreak that has sickened several people. Raw milk sales aren’t permitted in every state, so how could these products end up sickening Missouri consumers?
Laws governing the sale of raw milk vary from state to state. In Missouri, it’s legal for farmers to sell raw milk products directly to customers who visit their farms, but they can’t sell it a distribution center off site. Ten months ago, for example, in another E.coli outbreak linked to raw milk produced on a Missouri farm, consumers purchased the milk directly from the farm.
But cheese is different. Cheese made from raw milk can be sold legally anywhere in the US if it has been aged for 60 days. That is how Flory’s Favorite cheese, made with raw milk produced by Homestead Creamery in Jamesport, MO ended up on store shelves in Missouri and Iowa.
A recall for 250 pounds of the cheese was issued January 14. The product, which has “Packed On 210″ on the label, was sold at HyVee in Liberty, Mo., HyVee in Trenton, Mo., Benedict Builders’ Farm in Knob Noster, Mo. and Milton Creamery in Milton, Iowa.
Tests  of the cheese by the Missouri State Health Laboratory were positive for E. coli. The recall announcement by the Missouri Department of Agriculture did not specify what strain or say if consumption of the cheese was associated with any illnesses.
The maker of the raw dairy products associated with the E.coli outbreak announced January 11, by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has not yet been named. “The public has a right to know,” said Fred Pritzker, a food safety advocate and lawyer who represents victims of food poisoning. “Information about where these products were purchased should be made public.” One of the outbreak victims, a toddler has been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition that develops after some E.coli infections that can lead to kidney failure.
From 1987 to 2010, there were at least 133 outbreaks associated raw milk and raw milk products, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The outbreaks caused 2,659 illnesses, 269 hospitalizations, 3 deaths, 6 stillbirths and 2 miscarriages.

Did Raw Milk Cheese Cause E. coli Food Poisoning Outbreak in Missouri?
Source :
By Linda Larsen (Jan 15, 2013)
Public health officials have announced an outbreak of E. coli in northwest Missouri that has sickened several people. And a recall of aged raw milk cheese for possible E. coli contamination was announced yesterday. Are the two connected? We decided to take a look back at outbreaks caused by raw milk and raw milk cheeses to see how common they are.
Most dairy-related food poisoning outbreaks are linked to raw milk, according to the CDC. A study reviewing dairy outbreaks from 1993 to 2006 found 121 outbreaks that caused 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations, and three deaths. Raw milk products were the cause in 60%, or 73 of the outbreaks. But far fewer people drink raw milk than pasteurized milk.  The amount of pasteurized milk produced during that time period was 2.7 trillion pounds. But the amount of raw milk consumed during that time period was 27 billion pounds. That’s how the government determined that raw milk was 150 times more likely to cause illness than pasteurized milk.
Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker has called for an outright ban on the consumption of raw milk products by children. “Raw milk is dangerous for anyone, but especially for children,” he said. Children have been sickened in 79% of raw milk outbreaks since 1998.
Since 2010, there have been 26 outbreaks in the United States linked to raw milk, and two outbreaks linked to aged raw milk cheese. That number doesn’t include this most recent outbreak. A study was conducted last year and published in Food Microbiology that states aged raw milk cheese is “relatively” safe.  As the cheese ages, its water content decreases and the acid content increases, making it less hospitable to bacteria. Salt added to the cheese also helps keep bacteria at bay. The cheese must be aged for at least 60 days, at temperatures not less than 35 degrees F.
But consumers have no way of knowing whether the cheese has actually been properly aged when they buy it. And that caveat “relatively” should discourage many people from consuming even aged raw milk cheeses.
As a matter of course, those in high risk groups, including the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses and compromised immune systems, should not consume raw milk, raw milk products, and other high risk foods such as raw or undercooked eggs and undercooked ground meat. The odds are greater that those foods will contain pathogenic bacteria.
And remember that reported outbreaks do not include every person who became ill. For E. coli outbreaks, the government estimates that illnesses are underreported by a factor of 30.

Flu season, food safety and property taxes: Opinion roundup
Source :
By Mark Hester, The Oregonian The Oregonian (Jan 15, 2013)
As you've probably heard, flu season started early this year and appears likely to be one of the worst of the past decade. The Washington Post editorializes that the early stats not only give us reason to wash our hands, but also remind us that the nation's supply of flu vaccines is prone to shortages.
If you got a flu vaccine and are feeling OK about your chances of making it through winter healthy, you might want to be careful about what you eat. The Los Angeles Times editorial board tallies up the high physical (3,000 deaths annually) and financial ($14 billion annually) costs of food poisoning in the United States. Remember those costs as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration rolls out rules this year for implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Times suggests.
Other links:
The Eugene Register-Guard writes about a topic The Oregonian editorial board has explored frequently: property tax fairness. The Guard agrees with our conclusion that the Legislature needs to do something this year to address inequities.
An Op-ed from the New York Times offers opinions on why it's so hard for Americans to save. In short: Blame the economy.
In today's Oregonian
Our lead editorial: Gov. John Kitzhaber's state-of-the-state speech reminds Oregonians that PERS reform is essential to progress on most of the state's meaningful goals.
Second editorial: Have opinions about the possibility of high-speed rail from Portland to Eugene? You should take advantage of Oregon Department of Transportation public meetings this month.
University of Oregon journalism professor Peter Laufer advocates a slow-news movement to combat the saturation of superficial, instant information.
For other guest opinion and syndicated columns, go to The Stump.

What’s up with E. coli and Wisconsin
Source :
By Bill Marler (Jan 15, 2013)
Glenn’s Market and Catering, a Watertown, WI establishment, is recalling approximately 2,532 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The following products are subject to recall:
• Various size packages of Glenn’s Market ground round, ground chuck and ground beef sold between Dec. 22, 2012 and Jan. 4, 2013.
The products subject to recall were sold only at Glenn’s Market and Catering in Watertown, WI from the retail meat case.
FSIS was notified of an investigation of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses by the Wisconsin Division of Public Health on Jan. 10, 2013. Working in conjunction with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, three case-patients with the outbreak strain have been identified in the state with illness onset dates ranging from Dec. 29, 2012 to Jan. 1, 2013. Among the three case-patients with available information, all three reported consuming raw ground round; two consumed product ground and purchased on Dec. 24, 2012; the third consumed product ground and purchased on Dec. 30, 2012 prior to illness onset. FSIS is continuing to work with the Watertown Department of Public Health, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on this investigation
Using the Outbreak Database you can see a history of E. coli outbreaks in Wisconsin – here are a few:
•in 2012, the CDC announced that 12 people in 5 states were part of an outbreak of E. coli O26 linked to sprouts.  One of those 12 unfortunate folks hails from Wisconsin.
•2010:  E. coli O157:H7, Hazelnuts:  8 people were sickened in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
•2009: E. coli O157:H7, Romaine Lettuce:   19 people were sickened in multiple states, including Wisconsin, in a cluster of illnesses likely linked to lettuce.
•2009:  E. coli O157:H7, cookie dough:  Nestle’s cookie was linked to 80 illnesses across the country, including in Wisconsin.
•2007:  E. coli O157:H7, ground beef:  Wisconsin residents were among 47 ill in an outbreak also involving people in Minnesota, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
•2006:  E. coli O157:H7, other STECs, bagged spinach. Over 200 people were sickened and 5 died in a nationwide outbreak linked to Dole brand bagged spinach.
•2005:  E. coli O157:H7, lettuce.  Another Dole outbreak, this one sickened 32 people in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oregon.

California Exporting E. coli to Canada
Source :
By By Bill Marler (Jan 15, 2013)
Last Friday the Public Health Agency of Canada (CFIA) announced 26 (now 28) E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario linked to shredded lettuce distributed by FreshPoint Inc. served primarily at KFC and Taco Bell restaurants.  FreshPoint Toronto has recalled shredded iceberg lettuce.  The CFIA has traced the lettuce to California to an unnamed grower.  CFIA has notified U.S. authorities of this finding.
Sound familiar?
In August 2012 the CFIA isolated E. coli O157:H7 in a sample of Grower A romaine lettuce collected on August 8, 2012.  This finding prompted CFIA to issue a “Health Hazard Alert” notice on August 17, 2012 warning the public to not consume Grower A brand Romaine lettuce, UPC 0 27918 20314 9.[1]  The alert was expanded to include additional distribution information on August 20, 2012.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted a notice that on August 19 Grower A was recalling “Wrapped Single Head Romaine.”[2] Genetic testing by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) identified the strain of E. coli O157:H7 found in the Grower A sample as “ECXA1.1775/ECBN1.0012.” This was a rare strain, not seen in Canada since 2009. The CFIA announcement noted that there had been “no reported illnesses associated with consumption of this product.”  Unfortunately, this assessment would prove to be tragically incorrect.  Two Canadians – a person in Ontario and a person in Alberta were identified as being infected with strain ECXA1.1775/ECBN1.0012.  An Alberta resident identified as being a genetic match to the E. coli O157:H7 strain found in Grower A Romaine lettuce.
The causal link between the Alberta resident’s E. coli O157:H7 and grower A Romaine Lettuce is clear.  The CFIA isolated E. coli O157:H7 strain  ECXA1.1775/ECBN1.0012 in a sample of Grower A romaine lettuce.  This finding prompted a recall of Grower A brand Romaine lettuce, UPC 0 27918 20314 9.  Grower A brand Romaine lettuce, UPC 0 27918 20314 9 was found in the Albert resident’s home and she was known to consume romaine lettuce often.
On August 23, 2012, the Alberta resident experienced onset of vomiting and diarrhea.  Her stool specimen collected at Rockyview General Hospital on August 26 was culture positive for E. coli O157:H7.  Genetic testing by PFGE showed that the Alberta resident was infected with E. coli O157:H7 strain ECXA1.1775/ECBN1.0012.  The Alberta resident also developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).  Additional documentation from FDA and CFIA can be found – 1, 2, 3 and 4.
And, it is not like California leafy greens have not caused E. coli O157:H7 problems with our neighbors to the North several times before:
•April 2012: 18 ill with E. coli O157:H7 from romaine lettuce in Canada and California from Amazing Coachella out of California.
•October 2009: 4 sick with E. coli O157:H7 from lettuce served at a Wendy’s in Ontario.
•October 2008: E. coli O157:H7 in romaine lettuce in Ontario at 3 restaurants – Johnathan’s Family Restaurant, Little Red Rooster and M.T. Bellies.
•August 2008: Aunt Mid’s iceberg lettuce sickens 3 with E. coli O157:H7.
•September 2006:  Dole Baby Spinach sickens 1 with E. coli O157:H7.
It will be interesting if the unnamed grower will be named, and if so, when?

E. coli: Adonis Kebab House, Cardiff, owner jailed
Source :
By (Jan 13, 2013)
The owner of a Cardiff takeaway has been jailed for eight months following an outbreak of E. coli.
Diar Wali Ali admitted at Cardiff magistrates' court to 23 food hygiene offences and was jailed on Monday.
In August 2011, nine customers fell ill with food poisoning after visiting the Adonis Kebab House in City Road, Roath.
The takeaway was closed for two weeks while inspections were carried out and the council was satisfied the risks had been removed.
Councillor Derek Morgan, chair of Cardiff council's public protection committee, said people had a right to eat safe food and certain levels of hygiene.
"However, where poor hygiene practices and substandard conditions are found, we take immediate action to safeguard public health," he said.
"I hope this case helps to show how seriously we take this commitment and demonstrate that, where appropriate, we will use the full force of the law to ensure food safety regulations are met."

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Two Dead in Australian Listeria Outbreak Linked to Soft Cheese
Source :
By Food Safety News Desk (Jan 18, 2013)
A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to soft cheeses has sickened 18 people in Australia; two victims have died and one woman miscarried as a result of infection with the bacteria.
The outbreak began in November of 2012, at which time an 84-year-old man from Victoria and a 44-year-old Tasmanian man died as a result of their illnesses, and a New South Wales woman suffered a miscarriage.  By mid-December, 11 cases of listeriosis (Listeria infection) had been identified as part of the outbreak, and brie and camembert cheese sold under the brand names of Jindi and Wattle Valley were implicated as the source of the bacteria.
As a result, health authorities announced a recall of four types of cheeses - 1kg packages of Jindi brie, 1kg packages of Jindi camembert, 1kg  packages of Wattle Valley double brie and 1kg packages of Wattle Valley camembert – all with a best before date of December 21.
Now a further seven cases have been connected to the outbreak, health authorities announced Friday. Officials also expanded the recall to include all cheeses manufactured by the Jindi company up to and including January 6.
The implicated  sold at delicatessens and independent supermarkets throughout Australia, according to a Friday public health notice from the Victoria Department of Health.
“Department officials visited the Jindi factory in Jindivick on Wednesday, and were satisfied that appropriate food processing, hygiene and monitoring practices were being followed for the manufacture of products from January 7,” reported the department.
“On January 7 it implemented an even stricter regime of product testing and quality control, which Jindi is confident will ensure that all cheeses it sells are safe and free of bacterial contamination,” said the Victoria Department of Health’s chief health officer, Dr. Michael Ackland, in a statement Friday.

Eating Raw Meat Causes WI Food Poisoning Outbreak, Again
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 18, 2013)
A Wisconsin E. coli outbreak announced this week was linked to tainted ground beef that sickened three people who ate it raw. A raw meat outbreak? Yes. And it’s not the first time this has happened in Wisconsin.
In parts of the Midwest, “Tiger Meat,” a raw ground beef dish similar to steak tartare is popular in some circles, especially those of German heritage. The three people who recently contracted E.coli infections ate Tiger Meat made with raw ground beef purchased from Glenn’s Market and Catering in Watertown, Wisconsin.  Glenn’s has recalled 2,532 pounds of raw, ground meat specifically fresh ground round, fresh ground chuck and fresh ground beef from the morning grind of December 22, 2012 – January 4, 2013. The recalled meat was sold only from the retail meat case. No other products are included in the recall.
In late December 1994, more than 100 Wisconsinites were sickened by Salmonella after eating the raw beef mixture, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 107 confirmed cases and 51 probable cases.  The patients ranged in age from 2 to 90 years old, 17 of them were hospitalized.  The source of contamination was identified as the butcher shop that ground the beef.
“The outbreak occurred during the winter holiday season, and some patients reported that consumption of raw ground beef during these holidays was a practice brought from Europe by their ancestors,” says an editorial note to the CDC’s report which begins on the somewhat exasperated note: “Despite previously publicized outbreaks of illness associated with and recommendations to avoid eating undercooked meat, some persons continue to eat under-cooked or raw meat.”
The CDC, the US Department of Agriculture  (USDA) and most public health officials advise that ground beef is safe to consume only when it is cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F.

E. coli 0103 Appears In Northwest MO
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 17, 2013)
In northwest Missouri, one person has a confirmed case of E.coli 0103 infection and two others have suspected cases, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. None of the case patients has been hospitalized and a source of the outbreak has yet to be determined. The investigation is ongoing.
In its January 11 announcement of the outbreak, the health department said the illnesses might be related to the consumption of “locally-produced, raw (unpasteurized) dairy products.” But a definite food source has not been confirmed.
E. coli O103 is similar to the more common strain E. coli O157:H7 in that it is a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Up until last year,  non 0157:H7  STEC were not classified as adulterants in beef, meaning it was legal to sell beef contaminated with them. Because they were not considered adulterants, there was limited public health surveillance of non-O157 STECs, so many cases may have gone undiagnosed or unreported over the years.
Last June, a new rule classified E. coli 0103 and five other STEC strains, known collectively as The Big Six, as adulterants in beef.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)  estimates that banning The Big Six-E. coli O26, E. coli O45, E. coliO103, E. coli O111, E. coli O121 and E. coli O145, will reduce by 110,000 the number of foodborne illnesses reported in the U.S. each year. Because they are now considered adulterants, there is likely to be  increased public health surveillance.
Shiga toxins cause the the lining of the intestines to swell and sometimes damage other organs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “STEC infection causes acute, often bloody, diarrhea. Approximately 8% of persons who receive a diagnosis of O157 STEC infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening condition characterized by thrombocytopenia, hemolytic anemia, and renal failure.”
STEC can show up in all kinds of food including meat, vegetables,  fruits and raw dairy products and  unpasteurized beverages. Anyone who develops the symptoms of bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe abdominal cramping should see a doctor.

29 now sick with E. coli in Canada
Source :
By Bruce Clark (Jan 16, 2013)
The latest evidence in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s food-borne illness investigation indicates that the most probable cause of the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in the Maritimes (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) and Ontario is shredded lettuce distributed by FreshPoint Inc. primarily to some KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants.  The CFIA has traced the lettuce to its origin in California and has notified U.S. authorities of this finding.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 1 additional case of E. coli O157:H7 illness was confirmed in Ontario as part of this outbreak. This brings the total number of cases to 29. These individuals became ill between late December and early January.  New Brunswick reports six ill, Nova Scotia reports 10 ill and Ontario now reports 13 ill.

Two More Ill in Canadian E. coli Outbreak
Source :
By  Gretchen Goetz (Jan 15, 2013)
Another two cases of E. coli O157:H7 have been linked to lettuce sold at fast food locations in Canada, bringing the total number of illnesses related to this food to 28.
Both new cases occurred in Ontario, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Monday. The patients fell ill between late December and early January.
The latest illness linked to this outbreak began January 5, while the earliest case began December 22, 2012.
There are 6 cases in New Brunswick, 10 in Nova Scotia and 12 in Ontario.
“The majority of cases have recovered or are recovering,” said CFIA in its health advisory.
The lettuce suspected to be the source of the contamination was grown in California and distributed by Freshpoint Toronto to retail locations in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Fast food chains known to have received the product include KFC, Taco Bell, Burger King and Pizza Hut.
The lettuce was sold in shredded form, but mixed into other product, and was also served in salads and mixed vegetable packs.
Despite the precautionary recall, CFIA says the contaminated produce is probably no longer on the market.
“Lettuce has a short shelf life, therefore contaminated products are unlikely to still be available,” notes CFIA.
A full list of recalled products is available on the agency’s website.
CFIA says it has traced the lettuce to its source in California, but how the lettuce became contaminated remains unclear.




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